Lab vs Field Distilling: Do You Need the Degree?

There’s an age-old debate between getting a degree in a subject and learning through experience and attending the school of hard knocks. While knowledge and wisdom are definitely different things and there’s no substitute for experience, gaining new knowledge is never a bad thing.

How Do You Become a Distiller?

If you’re considering getting a degree anyway and you’re interested in learning how to distill, then it will be worthwhile to look at your options and see what kind(s) of programs are available to you. This can be a great way to get started and to have more exposure to the science and process you’re going to be working with. Having a solid background can give you a leg up by helping you get some experience before you jump into the deep end. For those of us who are past the stage in life where getting a four-year degree makes sense, there are several certifications or after-hours options. 

Do You Need a Distilling Degree?

Before you enroll in any program, though, there are a few questions that you should consider. First, what is your main focus? What are your strengths and weaknesses? You may be excellent at running the equipment, but you need help on the fermentation side to get the flavors you’re looking for to really pop. We all have strengths and weaknesses, and knowing where you need help is the first step to improvement. Even if you think you’re fairly solid in a particular subject, it may be good to take an advanced class or even review the basics so that the subject stays fresh in your mind.

If you’re doing distilling as a profession, the amount of skills you need grows exponentially since you’re not just distilling; you’re running a business. Distilling is a lot of fun, second only to drinking your product, but if you’re spending all your time perfecting the product and the process, who’s going to sell your spirits? Who’s going to design your logo and put together your marketing plan? There’s more to owning a distillery than just distilling, you’re starting a business, and that’s not an easy thing to do. Some things may even make sense to outsource or hire someone else to take on. It’s difficult to do it all by yourself, and many hands usually make for light work.

Whatever stage of life you’re in, there’s always something that we can learn to do things better. Whether you’re just getting started or you’re an old pro, if you’re not learning and growing, you can’t improve your craft. We’re not certified instructors, but we have seen a lot in the years we’ve spent in this industry, so give us a call if you have any crazy ideas or want to know how the equipment works.